I'm in UK, and likewise resent the imposition of VAT, clearance charges, etc., on items imported for private use. It's even worse now that easy money-transfer and Ebay, etc., make it simple to buy overseas.
Problem is that mis-declaration as a "gift" is illegal, and (at the very least) can result in the packet being held by Customs until the matter's sorted out.
I had a genuine "gift" parcel from a friend held for some weeks, just because it looked as though it had been sent from a commercial address. :rolleyes:
Not worth trying to save a few ££'s, IMHO...best allow for potential VAT charge in working out whether it's worth buying abroad.