Two subspecies are recognized (Storer 1970):
T. v. fulvigula, described by Berlepsch and Stolzmann 1906; type locality Tambillo, Peru; occurs in southern Ecuador and northern Peru - Similar to nominate viridicollis, but differs (in the male) "by having more silvery greenish (less bluish) dorsal surface, flanks, and edges to upper wing coverts; more greenish blue margins to wing and tail feathers; more reddish throat and sides of face; while the female, besides the last-named character, may be distinguished by its more reddish brown crown; bill somewhat stouter" (Hellmayr 1936: 173).
T. v. viridicollis, described by Taczanowksi in 1884; type locality Huiro, Cuzco, Peru. Occurs in central and southern Peru. - See Detailed Description.
The Silvery Tanager is classified in the genus Tangara, the largest genus of Neotropical birds. Tangara is divided into 13 species groups based on vocalizations, diet, geographic distributions, behavior, and appearance (Iser and Isler 1987). Isler and Isler (1987) placed the Tangara viridicollis in species group 12, along with other species with dramatic sexual dichromatism including T. heinei (Black-capped Tanager), T. argyrofenges (Green-throated Tanager), T. cyanoptera (Black-headed Tanager), and T. pulcherrima (Golden-collared Honeycreeper). The subsequently described T. phillipsi (Sira Tanager; Graves and Weske 1987) also shows similarities to species in this group. Based on genetic evidence, pulcherrima is not a member of Tangara (Burns et al. 2003), and now is classified in the monotypic genus Iridophanes. The remaining species (with the exception of T. phillipsi which has not been sampled) are closely related to each other based on DNA-sequence data (Burns and Naoki 2004, Sedano and Burns 2010). T. viridicollis is the sister taxon to a clade containing T. heinei and T. argyrofenges. Together, these three species from a clade that is sister to T. cyanoptera. Tangara viridicollis is weakly differentiated from Tangara argyrofeneges and Tangara heinei, showing only 1.7% sequence divergence (Burns and Naoki 2004). These three species may form a superspecies with Tangara phillipsi (Isler and Isler 1987).