What is ARP?
ARP stands for Accountable Reimbursement Plan.
We are pleased to provide an Accountable Reimbursement Plan (ARP) for US crew. If you elect to process support through Mercy Ships, all donations designated for you are deposited into this ARP account, which is restricted to reimburse you for qualified expenses. Mercy Ships maintains ownership of these funds so that a tax receipt can be provided to your donor(s) at year-end.
ARP is the "vehicle" that allows us to issue tax receipts to your donors. This plan was created to protect you as a paying-volunteer, and to protect the integrity of Mercy Ships as we comply with the IRS.
Expenses that can be reimbursed are missions-related expenses only, which include:
• Travel to and from the ship.
• Immunizations, malaria prophylaxis, and other travel medications.
• Crew fees (for short-term crew/crew in Commitment Levels 1 and 2 only).
• Costs associated with raising your support (printing, mileage, postage, hospitality, donor gifts, etc.).
• Travel to and expenses associated with attending training (Foundations of Mercy Ships, Basic Training, or On Boarding).
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do all crew from the US use ARP?
All short term volunteers (defined as anyone serving 365 days or less) are required to use ARP if they are processing funding (donations) through Mercy Ships. Long term volunteers (defined as anyone serving 366 days or more) have the option of using ARP in order to be reimbursed for qualifying non-taxable expenses. All other funds paid out are considered taxable earnings.
How do I get a reimbursement?
To ensure reimbursement, all mission-related expenses must be submitted within 60 days of the date the expense is incurred. It is imperative that you submit your signed ARP expense report and itemized receipts that indicate your payment method.
Are reimbursements issued immediately?
Mercy Ships disperses reimbursements on the 7th and the 22nd of each month.
Can I be reimbursed for meals, clothing, toiletries, etc. I purchase while serving on board?
No, such personal items are not eligible for reimbursement. You may want to consider asking some donors to make a gift personally to you (i.e., cash or check made out to you) to cover these expenses.
Can I be reimbursed for renewing or buying a new passport?
No, passport expenses cannot be reimbursed.
What happens to leftover money in my account after my service is complete?
The funds will remain in your account for 18 months after you leave Mercy Ships, after which they will be transferred to our General Fund. However, if you apply to rejoin within those 18 months, any leftover money in the account will be eligible for your expenses reimbursement.
Are the reimbursements subject to federal income tax?
No, reimbursements are not subject to federal income tax, and the plan avoids limitations on certain deductions imposed by the IRS.
Will I receive a W-2 from Mercy Ships?
No, you will not receive a W-2.
What if I plan a vacation trip while traveling to or from the ship - can I be reimbursed for the entire set of flights?
Maybe, maybe not. You will need to submit both your paid flight itinerary and a quote that does not include the vacation trip. Our Controller will make the final decision on the reimbursable amount.
How can I pay my crew fees?
When you get to the ship, our Finance department there can transfer funds from your ARP account or you can pay them via a personal check, cash, debit or credit card. If you pay your crew fees directly rather than doing a transfer, they are eligible for reimbursement under ARP.
What happens if I decide to utilize the program?
If you participate in the ARP program, you will be assigned a Designation Code that serves as an account number for your donors to reference. We will also have brochures printed with your name and code, and create a fundraising page for you, accessible here.
What are some pros of utilizing ARP?
* Use of personalized crewmates brochures
* Personal support raising webpage
* Donors get tax receipts
* Accounting to Mercy Ships vs accounting to the IRS
What are some cons of utilizing ARP?
* Restrictions on reimbursements
* Must raise any personal funds separately
* Excess of funding is retained by Mercy Ships
Questions? Ask below in the comments! We are here to help.