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Hi, Sam here , one of the UK tax Experts here on Just Answer, thank you for your question and I shall reply shortly
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I am afraid it was your responsibility to contact HMRC that you not only had left the Uk but had started to receive rental income and as you had to sign a declaration with the letting agency this meant they had to deduct tax from you (it was not an additional fee but tax) as you did not have the right to receive the rents gross without deduction of tax as you had not registered for the non resident landlord scheme, so how were HMRC supposed to know where you were ? And that you had rental income ?
Its only know that HMRC have become aware that you did have rental income that they have contacted you (probably from a review of the letting agency) so I am afraid there may not be any tax due as this would appear to have been deducted by the letting agency and paid over to HMRC but the fact you did not file self assesment tax returns
You need to complete these to stop the penalties getting bigger and IF yhou do not owe any tax you could try and appeal that the penalties outweigh the size of the tax actually due so HMRC have lost nothing so would they reduce them on this basis