BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Laura Holmes is an angel in a Toyota. She lives in St. Francisville and commutes to Catholic Charities in Baton Rouge and a location in New Roads to help people answer one of life's most difficult questionnaires: Their tax forms.
Laura is a retired state worker who volunteers to help file taxes. She is part of VITA, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program sponsored in Baton Rouge at Catholic Charities on Acadian Thruway. Capital Area Asset Building Coalition also sponsors that VITA site. Her assistance is free help for people who are low-income, elderly, disabled, or maybe don't manage to read well in English.
For some reason, Holmes says she loves the detail, the minutiae of the tax jargon. She'll sweat the details for people free of charge. Her manner is quiet and professional. She makes people of all walks of life comfortable. And she covers all the bases.
"Any income from sources other than this W2 right here? No dividends or interest on your checking account or savings account? Sell any stocks and bonds? Have any farm property?"
Holmes sounds like she's listing everything in the book, and in truth she tries to leave no mistakes, no deductions missed. She's a patient person. Laura is a married mother of two and when she retired from three decades working for the state, she soon found she wanted to be more busy.
"I found myself with time on my hands and not much to do with it, so I said, what DO I like to do? I LIKE to do taxes!" she exclaimed.
Laura's passion and expertise help others satisfy their obligations to our country. In this case, she was helping people file before the October 15th extension deadline. But we heard her tell a client that within hours of her electronically filing, the IRS will approve or kick it back. If it comes back, Laura calls the client and helps make it right. If it's just a spelling error, she says, "I won't bother the client, I'll take care of that myself."
Capital One Bank, Volunteer United of the United Way and WAFB are proud to honor volunteers like Laura Holmes who are caring to the Power of 9.