Yellen names EY’s Murillo to top international tax post

Accounting

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen added an international tax policy expert to her staff as the U.S. reverses a Trump-era stance over digital taxation of technology companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc.

Jose Murillo, a partner at Ernst & Young who previously worked at the Treasury under Republican and Democratic administrations, will serve as deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs in the tax-policy office, the department said in a statement Tuesday. The post doesn’t require Senate confirmation.

Yellen last week told her counterparts at a virtual meeting of Group of 20 finance officials that the U.S. is no longer calling for a so-called safe harbor rule that would allow American companies to opt out of paying a tax overseas.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

Pete Marovich/Bloomberg

Yellen said the U.S. will now engage in negotiations on both that issue and on a global minimum tax, a spokeswoman said.

The talks between about 140 countries on how to overhaul tax rules stumbled last year when former President Donald Trump’s administration demanded a safe-harbor provision. Most other countries said they couldn’t accept such optionality on paying tax.

The Biden administration has yet to nominate candidates for three key undersecretary roles, overseeing domestic policy, international affairs and terrorism and financial intelligence. Wally Adeyemo, the nominee to serve as deputy secretary, is awaiting Senate confirmation.

The Treasury also announced other advisers, none of whom require Senate confirmation:

  • William Fields, who previously worked at the Treasury on Puerto Rico and regulatory issues, will serve as a senior adviser to Yellen.
  • Neil Mehrotra, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, will be deputy assistant secretary for macroeconomics.
  • Bill Doerrer, who worked on the Biden campaign, will be White House liaison.
  • Hira Qureshi, who was also on the Biden campaign, will be deputy White House liaison.
  • Catherine Wolfram, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, will be deputy assistant secretary for climate and energy economics.

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