An accelerated cost recovery system is a way of calculating tax depreciation. It provides greater depreciation in the early years of property ownership instead of spreading it out over several years. It allowed recovery of the value of the tangible property faster than previous depreciation options. This system came into being when Congress passed the Economic Recovery Act of 1981. The idea was to shelter large amounts of income early in an investment to make it more profitable. Classification of asset depreciation life was set to a specific number of years based on the type of asset; this period could be 3, 5, 10 or 15 years. In 1986, Congress modified this depreciation system, and the new system became known as the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System, which is the system in use today.