Job Title: President & Executive Director

Company: Council On State Taxation
Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Salary Range: competitive
TeleWork: Yes
Job Website:
Contact Name: Madison Barnett
Contact Phone: (770) 891-5781
Contact Email:

The Council On State Taxation (COST) is the premier state tax organization representing taxpayers.  Formed in 1969, COST is a nonprofit trade association consisting of over 500 multistate corporations engaged in interstate and international business.  COST’s objective is to preserve and promote equitable and nondiscriminatory state and local taxation of multijurisdictional business entities.

COST offers its members many benefits, including: 1) high quality education, including conferences, schools, regional meetings and special symposia, featuring the hottest topics, delivered by the nation’s most recognized experts; 2) an advocacy program in the legislative, judicial and administrative arenas oriented toward active involvement on state tax issues of broad importance to the membership; 3) a leading source for state tax information, including publications, newsletters, exclusive website content, forums, special reports, and current development outlines; and 4) networking opportunities for state tax professionals through its online member forum and at COST conferences and schools.

COST is affiliated with The State Tax Research Institute (STRI), a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2014 to provide educational programs and conduct research designed to enhance public dialogue relating to state and local tax policy.


The President & Executive Director is the leader of the organization, establishing a vision for COST that is achieved through the efforts of a diverse team of experienced, high-performing leaders and staff.  The President & Executive Director:

  • Possesses a high level of broad business and management skills, state tax technical knowledge, advocacy skills, and exceptional judgment;
  • Is accountable for building and leading high-performing teams, ensuring all teams are aligned and collaborating to achieve organizational results;
  • Maintains accountability for the operational and fiscal integrity of the organization within policies set by the Board of Directors;
  • Assesses organizational capacity to implement strategies and identify gaps in systems and staffing;
  • Directly supervises Senior Leadership positions and establishes individual goals;
  • Works with the Chief Financial Officer to manage organizational spending, monitor budget compliance, and mitigate financial risks;
  • Ensures that goals of inclusiveness and diversity among staff and volunteers are met;
  • Serves as the principal resource to the Board of Directors and its key committees and provides strong direction in policy formulation and interpretation; and
  • Partners with the Board of Directors and the Senior Leadership team to craft organizational goals and develops strategies to ensure that they are achieved.


  • Deep and broad knowledge of all state and local tax technical issues facing COST member companies:  This is COST’s core function.  Staff leadership must have a comprehensive understanding of the issues facing our members and their expectations of COST engagement on those issues. This includes a deep familiarity with the history of COST and the continuing evolution/development of constitutional limits on state and local taxation of multijurisdictional companies.
  • Strong leadership skills and intellectual curiosity:  As the public-facing leader of the organization, must possess an ability to command the confidence and respect of stakeholders.  A high level of intelligence and intellectual curiosity and a desire to explore new ideas and innovative approaches to solving problems are core requirements.   
  • Exemplary oral and written communications skills:  For most COST members, the primary communication with COST leadership and staff is through written communications and/or oral presentations. The President and Executive Director must effectively communicate with other third-party organizations and advocate for COST policy positions with legislators, administrative agency leaders, the press and other interested parties. These skills are essential for effective leadership of the organization.
  • Positive, welcoming, and helpful demeanor:  COST members and practitioner partners are often dealing with frustrating issues with uncertain outcomes.  Having a helpful and welcoming staff to turn to that understands their issues and can facilitate networking with similarly situated taxpayers is a core COST role.
  • Commitment to Educating State Tax Professionals:  COST organizes and provides members with nationally recognized state tax focused educational programs.  Experience in managing high quality professional educational programs (especially tax focused education) is a plus.
  • Deep familiarity with principles of sound tax policy:  COST’s policy positions and policy engagement are predicated on and guided by principles of sound tax policy.  This is manifested in two further qualifications:
    • Broad knowledge of state and federal tax policy arenas:  Possessing a strong tax policy and advocacy skillset is essential.  Only through a deep understanding of the issues and the interested parties can disagreements among the membership be avoided on complex tax policy issues.  Knowing how and when to engage and deploy COST Advocacy Team assets is critical to ensuring alignment among the membership.  
    • Understanding of the economics of state taxation of multistate companies:  The COST President and Executive Director is also the President of STRI and must therefore initiate, direct, and edit economic and public policy studies that are educational in nature and beneficial to the body of research on state and local taxation of multistate companies.
    • Familiarity with managing a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization:  This is important for navigating the limits on non-profit activity such as deductibility of dues; registrations and limitations on lobbying activity; role of a private foundation; and rules surrounding the provision of educational programs and CLE/CPE requirements.  Alternatively, extensive senior strategic leadership experience in the management of organizations is required.
    • Ability to hire, manage, and lead staff:  COST relies on its deep bench of exceptional staff to execute its mission, and the President and Executive Director is responsible for hiring, leading, inspiring, managing, and mentoring the team.  Developing partnerships, building teams, and managing conflicts is a critical skill.  Many more tax issues arise than staff can possibly engage in, and they change constantly, which requires strategic direction and effective prioritization of staff resources.  COST staff must be prepared to confront issues that arise anywhere in the country without overburdening a specific skill, expertise, or responsibility for a geographic area.  COST staff responsibilities and expertise thus have redundancies and overlap built-in so staff advocacy efforts can be redeployed to address an imbalance in issues. This execution and deployment must come from staff leadership.
    • Sensitivity to workplace diversity and atmosphere:  COST staff must reflect the diversity of its members and society as a whole.  COST staff must all feel that they are all part of the same team, and that the team is larger and more important than any single individual or groups of individuals.  
    • Education & Experience Background:  Undergraduate degree required, with a masters in tax, J.D., or LL.M. in Taxation preferred.  10+ years of state tax technical and senior leadership experience is required.


For more information or to apply, please contact the chair of the search committee, Madison Barnett (770-891-5781 or  Application process will close on December 8, 2023.