In less than two months, one way or another, you’re going to do what needs to be done to stay out of tax jail. Let’s say this year you have the additional goal of avoiding any fights with your partner — but you just don’t know where to begin.

The first thing to do is to make a home for all the different tax forms, receipts, and other supporting documents. Until you’re able to get a more sophisticated system in place, a folder will do. Label it “Tax 2021.”

A folder can only be as useful as its contents. You can start making this useful by stuffing it with documents like W-2s, 1099s, K-1s, and supporting paperwork for IRA distributions — and if you have a business, a profit and loss report as well as a balance sheet.

Making a list always helps in organizing your action items and changing priorities, which is why it’s such a simple solution for getting your thoughts together and counting your expenses — including any charitable contributions that qualify as tax-deductible. If a charitable donation is $250 or more, the charity is required to send a letter of acknowledgment to you — and that’s some more folder fodder.

If you contribute to a religious organization, you may have been sitting on a tax deduction without knowing it. Dues paid to any religious organization in the country are tax-deductible.

Another little-known deduction can be found in your shame as gambling losses are tax-deductible. Be sure to retain any records related to gambling losses and winnings — because winnings are counted as income.

Another fact of life that I often have to disclose to those with recently forgiven loans is that discharged debts are considered income by the IRS.

The marketplace is full of businesses and apps that want to do your taxes. I am an advocate of using regular, old-fashioned CPAs for a couple of reasons: it’s good to have a tax professional from the same municipality as you in case there are any new fees or levies that the tax software doesn’t have yet, and CPAs are steeped in the culture and communicate with each other constantly — and they know all the deductions.

If you're a freelancer, or simply have more than a W-2, you definitely need an accountant.

One thing a good accountant won’t do is offer predatory loans for “same-day refunds” — or stand on a roadside in a green garbage bag and a foam crown. Accounting is the kind of service that deserves careful consideration and casting a wide net for candidates. Including your business contacts in your search usually leads to the best outcome.

Our taxes are big business, and we must be discerning tax consumers. That means knowing when something that is old and boring is better than a flashy, seasonal operation with a mascot.

Judy Heft is the CEO/founder of Judith Heft & Associates, a financial and lifestyle concierge celebrating 25 years in business helping people stay financially organized. She is a certified money coach and the author of “How to Be Smart, Successful and Organized with Your Money.” For more information, visit