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PA’s Money-Back Guarantee System for Permitting, Licensing, and Certification Processing Recognized as “State IT Innovation of the Year”


The Shapiro Administration launched PAyback in November 2023 to deliver on the Governor's promise to establish standard response times and create a money-back guarantee system for Pennsylvania workers and businesses and increase certainty for those doing business with the Commonwealth.  

PAyback was the first major product release by CODE PA and exemplifies how the office is working to improve and modernize the Commonwealth's websites and digital services by bringing a "no wrong door" philosophy to accessing online information and services.

 Harrisburg, PA – The Shapiro Administration's online money-back guarantee system,, is among the recipients of the 2024 StateScoop 50 Awards for people and projects that are advancing government operations and online services.

PAyback was developed by the Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience (CODE PA) and the Office of Transformation and Opportunity (OTO) to allow residents, business, charities, and schools to view standard processing times for permits, licenses, and certifications and request a refund if their application is not processed within the required timeframe.

The StateScoop 50 Awards winners are nominated and selected by their peers in state and local government information technology. StateScoop received hundreds of leaders and projects for consideration, which were narrowed to nearly 200 finalists. Readers cast over 1 million votes to select this year's 50 award recipients. The winners were announced at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) Mid-Year Conference in Baltimore.

"CODE PA has made incredible progress in its first year, building a top-notch team that is garnering national recognition for online services that rival the best technology companies in the world," said Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver. "The launch of PAyback is a testament to the great work that CODE PA has done to deliver digital and online services that are improving Pennsylvanians' lives."

PAyback was the first major product release by CODE PA and exemplifies how the office is working to improve and modernize the Commonwealth's websites and digital services. By working collaboratively across all state agencies that issue permits, licenses, and certifications to create a single online resource for Pennsylvanians, CODE PA is helping to bring a "no wrong door" philosophy to accessing online information and services.

"It is such an honor to be recognized by our public sector peers from across the nation for making online services easier to use and more accessible for the people of Pennsylvania," said Bry Pardoe, Executive Director of CODE PA. "Launching PAyback with the Office of Transformation and Opportunity as CODE PA's first public product set in motion our work transform how Pennsylvanians interact with the Commonwealth online – and we look forward to continuing to innovate with Commonwealth agencies to continue to serve Pennsylvanians."

In his first month in office, Governor Shapiro signed an Executive Order directing all Commonwealth agencies to standardize timeframes for how they issue permits, licenses, and certifications, and directed his Administration to create this money-back guarantee tool to request refunds when the Commonwealth does not meet those timeframes. As a result, PAyback was launched by Governor Shapiro, CODE PA, and the Office of Transformation and Opportunity in November 2023 to help residents, businesses, charities, and schools to check their eligibility for a refund of their permit, license, or certification application fee and request a refund if they believe they are eligible. PAyback also increases certainty for Pennsylvanians doing business with the Commonwealth by allowing workers and businesses to see the standard processing time for each application.

Launched in coordination with CODE PA, the Office of Transformation and Opportunity (OTO), and the Governor's Office of General Counsel, PAyback was designed and created to modernize the Commonwealth's application platforms and services to better serve Pennsylvanians and to publish the recommended application processing times.

"OTO was created to help spark transformational change to better support Pennsylvania workers and businesses. With PAyback, we have standardized our timeframes for how we issue permits, licenses, and certifications, helping us to deliver services on time while creating a more transparent process," said Chief Transformation Officer Ben Kirshner. "We have heard from Pennsylvania businesses that they need certainty and predictability for their businesses and careers in order for them to attain long-term economic success – and PAyback delivers for them."

Since the launch of PAyback, state agencies including the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of State have made significant progress to reduce their processing times and eliminate backlogs. As a result, applicants are experiencing greater certainty and fewer delays when they do business with the Commonwealth.

PAyback is also part of the Shapiro Administration's commitment to make government move at the speed of business and increase accountability and transparency. Pennsylvanians now have greater certainty about when their application will be processed, and state agencies are incentivized to meet these deadlines.

To check your eligibility for a refund of permits, licenses, or certification application fees, visit

CODE PA is working to improve online services for Pennsylvanians and streamline the way they interact with the Commonwealth online. Learn more at

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