City officials say they are prepared to negotiate payment agreements with delinquent taxpayers whose financial circumstances make it difficult or impossible to pay their overdue tax bills all at once.

In hardship situations - which the officials will not publicly define - it may even be possible to get a break on the total amount due.

"We don't provide [public details on] the parameters of hardship agreements. . . . We want to be able to negotiate, and we don't want to give away the farm," said Revenue Commissioner Keith Richardson. "We're talking about people who may have lost their jobs or found themselves in a different salary situation, or facing a serious medical situation."

"Something that causes a substantial change in their financial condition," added Finance Director Rob Dubow.

Richardson urged tax delinquents to contact the Revenue Department at 215-686-6600 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., or by e-mail at revenue@phila.gov.

"Call us," Richardson said. "We're willing to sit and talk to individuals. There are 1,187 financial hardship [payment agreements] out there now. We don't know if people don't want to call us."