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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Tax Code �23.23 states that the appraised value of a residence homestead for a tax year may not exceed the lesser of: “(1) the market value of the property; or (2) the sum of: (A) 10 percent of the appraised value of the property for the last year in which the property was appraised for taxation times the number of years since the property was last appraised[.]“ In 2001, the Dallas Central Appraisal District assessed Bertram Bader’s residence homestead at $217,00. The land was valued at $75,000, and the improvements were valued at $142,000. Because of the 10 percent cap on valuation under Tax Code �23.23, the taxable value was actually capped at a total of $181,500. In 2002, the DCAD valued the residence homestead at $235,000, of which $75,000 was for the land, and $160,000 was for the improvements. Again applying the 10 percent rule, the taxable value was capped at $199,650 (this represented $181,500 plus 10 percent). Bader filed an administrative tax appraisal protest, claiming he had been overtaxed. He argued that �23,23 required DCAD to apply the 10 percent cap to the land and the improvements separately. The appraisal review board rejected his argument. Bader appealed to the trial court, which granted partial summary judgment to DCAD on the interpretation of �23.23. HOLDING:Affirmed. Bader argues that the term “property,” as defined in Tax Code �1.04, and as applied to �23.23 encompasses land on the one hand, and improvements on the other. The court finds �1.04′s definitions “instructive, but not controlling of the outcome.” The court concedes that it could conclude that “property” clearly encompasses a unit of land and improvements thereon that comprise a “residence homestead,” but that it also cannot find any direction that requires a separate application of the 10 percent cap from �23.23 to land and improvements. Bader also argues �23.23 should be interpreted in light of Tax Code �25.19(f), which directs appraisal districts to separate out the value of land and its improvements on the appraisal notice. The court holds that the requirement to give notice in a particular way, does not translate into a requirement that an appraisal district apply the 10 percent cap separately. The court finds it is more helpful to analyze the specific statute at issue, �23.23, itself, than to try to read it in conjunction with other, unrelated statutes. The court finds “[t]he use of the definite article �the’ before �property’ indicates that each repetition of �property’ refers back to the first mention of property in the statute, i.e., the �residence homestead.’” The court finds Tax Code �11.13 useful in arriving at an interpretation of �23.23. One subsection defines “residence homestead” as: “a structure (including a mobile home) or separately secured and occupied portion of a structure (together with the land, not to exceed 20 acres, and improvements used in the residential occupancy of the structure, if the structure and the land and improvements have identical ownership) that: (A) is owned by one or more individuals . . . ; (B) is designed or adapted for human residence; (C) is used as a residence; and (D) is occupied as his principal residence by an owner [.]” As this is the only definition of “ residence homestead” in the code, the court concludes that the legislature would have changed the definition in �23.23 if it did not want the same definition to apply. The court concludes that the legislature intended the 10 percent cap to apply to the residence homestead as a single unit, i.e., the land together with improvements.” OPINION:Lang, J.; FitzGerald, Richter and Lang, JJ.

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