Accelerated Cost Recovery System (ACRS)

An accounting technique for calculating the depreciation of tangible assets on the basis of the estimated-life classifications into which the assets are placed. ACRS was initiated by the Economic Recovery Act of 1981. The goal was to make investments more profitable by sheltering large amounts of income from taxation during the early years of an asset's life. The initial law established classifications of 3, 5, 10, and 15 years; these classifications were subsequently modified in order to reduce depreciation and increase the government's tax revenues. The classification into which an asset is placed determines the percentage of the cost potentially recoverable in each year.