I'm just going to ask a quick question here,

is it supposed to be "up-to-date" or "up to date"?

The former is what I think is right, but I've seen the latter more often.

But I'm pretty certain that I've seeb both versions.

Another problem is,

how should I know if there need to be hyphens?

How should I judge just by looking at the words?
Use the hyphens if it's before a noun.

Make sure your passport is up to date.

Bring an up-to-date immunization record.
Use hyphens if the phrase is used as an adjective.

'My son is three years old.' 'I have a three-year-old son.'

'This room is for men only.' 'This is a men-only room.'