A cost-recovery method used for tax purposes for assets used after 1980, but before 1987, in a business or trade. Cost recovery means that the business can deduct the cost of the asset on the tax return, thereby saving tax payments. The accelerated cost-recovery system allowed businesses to write off the asset’s cost over a shorter time period than the economic life. The purpose was to stimulate capital investment, because when further deductions were unavailable, companies would buy new assets. ABBRV. ACRS.