Get to know Sue Whitty

September 30, 2022

Sue Whitty began her career at Yale 29 years ago, as the very first member of the Tax Department, after spending nearly eight years as a certified public accountant at Arthur Andersen.

Sue has gradually increased the size of the Tax Department in response to the ever-increasing complexity of federal, state, and international tax compliance. Today, she leads the University Tax and International Compliance Department in the Controller’s Office—a team of nine tax professionals supported by a senior administrative assistant. The team manages federal, state, and international tax compliance and planning related to the university and its endowment investments and assists with tax treaty claims and filings for international students and scholars. Responsibilities also include monitoring tax legislation and its impact on the university, supporting Yale’s global strategy, managing tax audits, and regularly advising the university community and central departments on various federal, state, and international tax issues.

What do you love most about your role and your team?

The portfolio of the team’s work is broad and dynamic, and the work has become increasingly technical and demanding, with expanded regulatory requirements together with the university’s global scope and complex endowment investments. A critical part of our work involves staying abreast of the ever-changing tax rules and legislation to understand their impact on the university. These rules can be highly technical, and their application in this complex environment is challenging.

We partner with colleagues in Finance, as well as other central departments and business units, to support the university’s mission. Our team members participate as advisors in numerous cross-functional committees and teams focused on ensuring compliance and building effective processes to support Yale’s mission. As the university has become more complex and global, our team has effectively grown to meet the ever-increasing tax compliance and planning needs.

The Tax Department staff are highly competent, dedicated, positive, and foster a sense of team and community.

Over the past several years, we have worked with a consortium of peer institutions to analyze, draft, and submit comments to the U.S. Department of the Treasury on the relevant provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Many of the issues and recommendations raised by this consortium were incorporated into the final rules. We also recently advised on several of the tax relief provisions related to the pandemic, which led to significant savings for the university.

What goals do you have for your team, and what are you most excited about accomplishing?

While the TCJA, enacted in 2017, introduced two new excise taxes and dramatically modified the way Yale calculates its unrelated business taxable income (i.e., taxable income), final regulations related to these new provisions have only recently been issued. The team is focused on the interpretation of these regulations and managing their implementation. Also, the tax team identified significant 2020 and 2021 tax refunds and other tax relief opportunities available under the CARES Act. We anticipate filing refund requests to realize additional savings in the near future.

As a team, we are keen on continuing to build and contribute to a positive work environment in Finance.

What are a few things that your colleagues might not know about you ?

I raised my three children in New Haven. In addition to reading, running, hiking, and gardening, I recently added winter swimming (i.e., dipping into icy lakes) to my list of recreational activities - it is exhilarating!