The German Customs Authorities distinguish between the following types of shipments:
Anything not CLEARLY marked with either Muster/Sample, Geschenk/Gift, and anything valued at more than DEM700.00 is subject to the standard import tax (EUST) of 16% of the value of the goods plus 16% of 32% of the cost of shipping, which is also considered part of the value of the goods, but only if the shipping costs are visible on the invoice. If the shipping costs are not visible on the invoice then they check their shipping costs table and tax 16% of 68% of the shipping cost found in their table.
On top of all that come the Customs Tariffs. Customs Tariffs range from 0% to 30% depending on the goods. Computer equipment is usually between 0 and 2% while exotic birds are more like 30%.
The best thing to do is to use a third party packaging service or friends or relatives in the States. They can have any new items repackaged (with invoices concealed) and declared used gift items under DEM100. Then you pay only the shipping costs from the retailer to the third party and then from the third party to you. The US mail service offers affordable airmail rates to Germany. It takes between 1-2 weeks.